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First look: Ford sneaks out Ranger Super Cab

Pillarless: Ford's new Ranger Super Cab will continue to feature rear-hinged 'suicide' doors.

Super Cab version of Ford’s new Aussie-engineered Ranger emerges sans song and dance

1 Apr 2011

THE world debut of Holden’s – and Chevrolet’s - all-new Colorado one-tonner at last week’s Bangkok motor show opening created so much of a stir that first images of the Super Cab version of Ford’s new Australian-engineered Ranger ute almost went unnoticed.

The redesigned Colorado, which goes on sale in Australia in the first quarter of next year, made its global premiere in extended-cab guise at the 32nd Bangkok International Motor Show that runs from March 25 to April 5 and is regarded by Ford as the biggest and most influential automotive show in south-east Asia.

However, Ford also chose the annual motoring extravaganza in Thailand, where both the next-generation Colorado and Ranger will continue to be built, to stage the Asian debut of its all-new Ranger dual-cab, which made its world premiere at last year’s Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

Unbeknown to many though, Ford also revealed the first official images of the Super Cab version of its redesigned 2012 Ranger, which will go on sale in Australia in the third quarter of this year alongside dual-cab and yet-to-be-revealed single-cab body styles of the all-new ute.

27 center imageWhile these images show Ford’s new Ranger Super Cab will continue to feature an extra pair of smaller rear-hinged back doors like those pioneered on the outgoing model, it appears Holden’s new Colorado will also adopt the ‘suicide’ door arrangement instead of the existing Colorado Super Cab’s less convenient two-door design.

It also follows then that the Ranger’s mechanical twin, Mazda’s all-new BT-50, which also made its world debut in dual-cab guise in Sydney last year and goes on sale in Australia – one of the world’s largest ute markets - within months, will again be available in single-cab, double-cab and four-door ‘Freestyle’ body derivatives.

Also known as Open Cab or RAP (for Rear Access Panels), the extended-cab utility design was pioneered by Ford with its current Ranger, which is built in the same joint-venture factory as Mazda’s BT-50 in Thailand.

Little information accompanied the first Ranger Super Cab images released in Bangkok, Ford saying only that the redesigned Ranger derivative will continue to offer the cargo-carrying practicality of a four-door without being encumbered by a B-pillar.

“The Super Cab is an innovation introduced by Ford on the Ranger in 2002,” said Ford’s Bangkok press release.

“It has a four-door system that provides unobstructed access to the cabin via two forward-hinged doors and two rear-hinged access doors. An uncompromised side-impact safety structure replaces the centre pillar of a traditional Double Cab.”

While the 2012 Ranger emerged in XLT Double Cab form at Sydney and Bangkok, Ford staged the world debut of the range-topping Wildtrak dual-cab at the Geneva motor show in early March.

Both Ford and Mazda are currently conducting a drip-feed reveal campaign for their vital new utilities, which will hit the market almost simultaneously early in the second half of this year - within six months of the local release of Volkswagen’s first one-tonne dual-cab, the Amarok, and about six months before the new Colorado arrives.

The latter’s mechanical twin, the Isuzu D-Max, is also expected to arrive in next-generation form next year.

Both car-makers are claiming significant improvements in style, space, towing capacity, refinement, efficiency, performance and safety, although this time around the Ranger and BT-50 will be differentiated by more than just sheetmetal, with Mazda confirming the new BT will continue as an all-diesel model, eschewing the entry-level Ranger’s 122kW/226Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder Duratec petrol engine.

As we’ve reported, both models will offer two new turbo-diesel engines in the shape of 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder and 110kW/375Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder.

Ford and Mazda have also confirmed that some versions of the new Ranger and BT-50 will come with electronic stability control for the first time, as well increased 3350kg (3.2-litre) and 2500kg (2.2-litre) towing capacities.

Ford’s new Ranger, which was designed and engineered by Ford Australia in Victoria as the first truck to be built under the new One Ford product strategy, will be sold in more than 180 countries globally.

Apart from Thailand, where it enters production within months, the T6-series model – which will also spawn an Australian-designed SUV model for the first time – will also be produced in South Africa and Argentina.

“We’re leveraging this year’s Bangkok motor show as an international stage for the ASEAN reveal of the all-new Ford Ranger global pick-up, which will be built right here in Thailand,” said Ford ASEAN president Peter Fleet before an estimated 1.5 million visitors filed through the halls of Thailand’s annual auto show.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to create a world-class display on the Ford stand so that show attendees can experience and truly understand our commitment to Thailand and the ASEAN region.”

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